Good Reads

Ending discrimination towards our frontline workers

Our frontline workers are our COVID-19 superheroes. Returning to work day-in and day-out in the face of the storm, they made sure - and are still making sure - that we're fed, cared for and transported.

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Jenene

Jenene Crossan knows what it’s like to be bullied for having COVID-19. As one of Aotearoa’s earliest positive cases, she’s faced ‘heinous online trolling’ and personal attacks since she contracted the virus on her way home from London.

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Tees for the Toll Team

Transport and logistics company Toll is celebrating Pink Shirt Day (PSD) for the second time in 2020. Invited to come on board last year by official corporate partner Cotton On to help support the distribution of PSD tees around Aotearoa, Toll also decided to celebrate Pink Shirt Day throughout their organisation.

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Claudia

Claudia* became a nurse to help others. 21-years-old, fresh out of her degree and completing her first year of on-the-job training in Christchurch, her dream is to provide the same, high standard of care that she received when in and out of hospital as a child.

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Standing up against racist bullying

Racist bullying is a problem in Aotearoa. Many of us like to think of New Zealand as a progressive, kind and inclusive nation, but to truly achieve that we need to reject racism wherever and whenever it occurs.

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Spreading aroha to the takatāpui community

Growing up in Panguru as a young gay man, broadcaster Whatitiri Te Wake can say hand-on-heart that he was surrounded by aroha. “I don’t really have a coming out story – I was nurtured and cared for – and was as flamboyant or queer as I wanted to be, growing up.”

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Creating Rainbow Inclusive Schools

For Petazae Thoms, the Pink Shirt Day kaupapa is all about providing rainbow rangatahi/young people with a sense of safety and belonging. As InsideOUT’s Auckland Schools Co-ordinator, his job is to empower students and staff with the tools and confidence to do just this.

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Liang

Liang Cui actively stands up against racist discrimination. She’s seen – and been on the receiving end of – too many examples of it over the four years she’s been living in Wellington.

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How to be an upstander

Everyone has the power to prevent bullying. Being an upstander is one of the best ways to make a difference in our schools, workplaces, communities and whānau.

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The Kindness Snippet Jar by D. Alber

Review by Kimberley Fatt

The story suggests to the reader that whilst doing kind things for others is great, "Sometimes all it takes is doing something kind for someone right in front of you!"

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Jacqui

When Jacqui of Whangarei saw former X-Factor judges Natalia Kills and Willy Moon verbally abuse a contestant’s choice of clothing, she thought to herself: this is wrong.

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Karley

Karley Johns and her daughter Melany have both had experience being bullied. Karley was kind enough to share their story with us.

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Alofia

When Alofia moved from Samoa she thought it was the start of a great adventure, but soon found it was not the same going to a big city school in Auckland.

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Hamish

Following the 2011 earthquakes, Hamish's school merged with a few other schools. Some of the new kids tried to make friends by tearing others down, and Hamish became a target.

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Albert

If you know of Albert from Eat Lit Food, you know his Instagram persona and his unflinchingly honest restaurant reviews, written in his signature humorous, sometimes spiky, and always colourful style. But, in person, this online persona couldn’t be further from this friendly, caring and articulate young man who has something to say - and not just about what he likes for lunch.

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Operation Pink Shirt Day

It’s fair to say that it's been a tough year for health workers, with the implications of Covid-19 acutely at the forefront of everyday life. But according to Joanna Sinclair, SMO Wellbeing Advisor at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital, COVID-19 hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for Pink Shirt Day, but in fact, strengthened their resolve to promote it.

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The Smelly Giant / Tio Tiamu by Kurahau

The Smelly Giant/Tio Tiamu, tells the story of Toe Butter/Tio Pata, a big friendly giant shunned by the people of his village because he was different. He was teased because of his huge, sweaty and smelly feet and cruelly nicknamed ‘Toe Jam’. A series of natural disasters brings Toe Jam back to protect and save his people. But time and time again the villagers take his help but banish him away again.

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Pulling up Pink Socks

After celebrating for the first time in 2019, Otago Boys’ High School have found their own way of keeping the Pink Shirt Day kaupapa alive throughout 2020. They're now pulling up pink socks to send a message of acceptance and aroha to their community!

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Pretty in Pink

As a plus size style and self-love writer, Meagan Kerr is all too familiar with how challenging it can be to find fashion that fits all shapes and sizes. That’s why this year, she is pleased that the range of Pink Shirt Day t-shirts has been extended to 5XL, so that more plus-sized people are able to support the Pink Shirt Day kaupapa.

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Howick College support Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day is always a special event in the Howick College school calendar, and for senior dean Anna Marsick, it’s important to use the day as an activation point to plan long-term bullying prevention activities and events beyond Friday 17 May.

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Student creates Kindness Week for Pink Shirt Day

Being showered with kindness, aroha and safety is what inspired a Hamilton high school student to set up an anti-bullying club. Timi Barabas started the True Colours Club in 2018 after realising some of her peers weren’t being treated with the same respect as her.

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Proud to be me: Aziz Al-Sa'afin

For journalist Aziz Al-Sa'afin, Pink Shirt Day represents an opportunity for Aotearoa to stand united against bullying.

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Mangere to turn pink in support of Pasifika LGBTQIA+

The Cook Island Development Agency of New Zealand (CIDANZ) is hosting an event in Mangere on Saturday 4 May in support of Pasifika rainbow communities, who experience higher rates of bullying in New Zealand.

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Fighting bullying with aroha

MMA fighter Shane Young is a man on a mission this Pink Shirt Day to make Aotearoa a place where our rangatahi feel safe, valued, accepted and supported.

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Ali's First Day at School by Atawhai

Reviews by Sasi and Latika

This book wonderfully portrays a boy’s first day at school in New Zealand.

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Bullies and Warriors by Tim Tipene

Review by Olivia Piper and Sophia Graham

In this well-regarded novel, Tim Tipene depicts the reality of bullying-and strategies to address it-for children on both sides of the problem. It addresses bullying head-on, and weaves practical solutions into a universal story.

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Nobody! by Erin Frankel

Review by Kim Higginson

Thomas feels like no matter what he does, he can’t escape Kyle’s persistent bullying. At school, at soccer—nowhere feels safe! “Mom said Kyle would grow up over the summer and stop picking on me, but he didn’t grow up, he just grew.” With support from friends, classmates, and adults, Thomas starts to feel more confident in himself and his hobbies, while Kyle learns the importance of kindness to others.

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Consent (for Kids!): Boundaries, Respect, and Being in Charge of YOU by Rachel Brian

Reviews by William and Deanne Douglas

“Consent: It’s like being the ruler of your own country. Population: YOU” states author Rachel Brian. Her book sets out to help children to speak up and tell others when they don’t want to be hugged or tickled, or if they feel uncomfortable with another person.

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Sparklers activities align with school’s drive for kindness

‘Kindness is free. Sprinkle it everywhere.’

That was the message being shared at Chisnallwood Intermediate in the lead up to Pink Shirt Day.

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The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Review by Kirstie Stevens

The Proudest Blue follows the journey of two sisters going back to school. Faizah tells the story of her older sister, Asiya's, first-day wearing a hijab at school. Faizah adores her sister and is eager about her first day of wearing a hijab too.

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Soulfire by Chaz Harris

Review by Sam

Soulfire is a great book that teaches good morals and the importance of doing the right thing.

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Only Freaks Turn Things Into Bones by Steff Green

Review by Susy Carryer

Being different is something that people struggle with at any age. Only Freaks Turn Things Into Bones uses the sort of macabre humour that appeals particularly to new entrant age children to present some important messages to anyone who feels like they don’t fit.

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Mophead: How Your Difference Makes a Difference by Selina Tusitala Marsh

Review by Deb Marsden

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Maiden Voyage by Adam Reynolds, Chaz Harris, Jaimee Poipoi

Review by Leanne Stubbing

A brand new tale of discovery about the importance of truth, family and love. Maiden Voyage is the follow-up to the internationally acclaimed LGBTQ themed fairytale Promised Land.

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It gets better: Coming out, overcoming bullying and creating a life worth living by Dan Savage and Terry Miller

Review by Karen

It Gets Better is a great compilation of stories about coming out. There is a wide variety of contributors to the book - we hear from people from all different backgrounds, ethnicities and genders, offering a range of diverse perspectives and lived experiences.

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Inclusion Alphabet by Kathryn Jenkins

Review by Jill Proops

Inclusion Alphabet: ABC’s for everyone is a picture book which guides the reader through some key features of inclusion.

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A Little Bit Different by Claire Alexander

Review by Kim Higginson

A Little Bit Different has been flipped through by visitors at my work desk and my home, and the reaction is always the same. The main characters, the ‘Ploofers’, are very adorable and receive a round of cute exclamations each time. This book is intended as a funny and touching story about accepting and celebrating what makes each of us different and special.

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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Review by Sophia Graham

John Green shares Aza's story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

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The Big Little Book of Resilience by Matthew Johnstone

Review by Ivan Yeo

The Big Little Book of Resilience is about developing flexibility, acceptance and self-compassion when those plans go awry. In this beautifully illustrated book, Matthew Johnstone guides the reader to an understanding of how resilience plays a key role in wellbeing. He offers an accessible roadmap to developing and maintaining resilience and how it can help you overcome and learn from difficult life events.

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Stick Up For Yourself by Gershen Kaufman

Review by Datoka Shute

Kids learn how to build relationships, become responsible, manage their anger, grow a “feelings vocabulary,” make good choices, solve problems, set goals, and “store” happiness and pride. Questions from real kids are paired with answers about how to handle specific situations calmly, confidently, and effectively.

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Starving the Anger Gremlin by Kate Collins-Donnelly

Review by Kim Higginson

This imaginative workbook shows young people how to starve their anger gremlin and control their anger effectively.

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Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Review by Kim Higginson

Newbery Honor author Shannon Hale and New York Timesbestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham join forces in this graphic memoir about how hard it is to find your real friends—and why it's worth the journey.

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The Survival Guide to Bullying: Written by a Teen by Aija Mayrock

Review by Neeve Edwards-Brown

Written by a teenager who was bullied throughout middle school and high school, this kid-friendly book offers a fresh and relatable perspective on bullying. Along the way, the author offers guidance as well as different strategies that helped her get through even the toughest of days.

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My Anxiety Handbook: Getting back on track by Sue Knowles, Bridie Gallagher, Phoebe McEwen

Reviews by Kiefer Hunt and Kristina Pinto

Helping young people with anxiety learn to recognise and manage their symptoms, this anxiety survival guide teaches 12 to 18 year olds how they can overcome their biggest worries. Co-written with a college student who has experienced anxiety herself.

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Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson

Review by Rachel McLean

From the critically acclaimed author of THIS BOOK IS GAY, James Dawson, now writing as Juno Dawson. We all have a mind, so we all need to take care of our mental health as much as we need to take care of our physical health. And the first step is being able to talk about our mental health. Juno Dawson leads the way with this frank, factual and funny book, with added information and support from clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt.

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I Am Jack by Susanne Gervay

Review by Kim Higginson

Susanne Gervay's thoughtful story sheds light on the contagious and destructive nature of school bullying, and the power of humor, love, and community to overcome it.

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Fighting Invisible Tigers: Stress Management for Teens by Earl Hipp

Review by Portia Devonshire

This book offers proven techniques that teens can use to deal with stressful situations in school, at home, and among friends. They'll find current information on how stress affects health and decision making and learn stress-management skills to handle stress in positive ways--including assertiveness, positive self-talk, time management, relaxation exercises, and much more.

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Dear Bully by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones

Review by Honor Jackson

Today's top authors for teens and young people come together to share their stories about bullying-as bystanders, as victims, and as the bullies themselves-in this moving and deeply personal collection.

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Dare! / Weird! / Tough! by Erin Frankel

Review by Evie Ryan and Anna Mowat

These three books tell the story of an ongoing case of bullying from three third graders’ perspectives. Luisa describes being targeted by bullying in Weird! Jayla shares her experience as a bystander to bullying in Dare! And in Tough!, Sam speaks from the point of view of someone initiating bullying. Kids will easily relate to Luisa, Jayla, and Sam, as each girl has her own unique experience, eventually learning how to face her challenges with the help of friends, peers, and caring adults.

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Confessions of a Former Bully by Trudy Ludwig

Review by Elise McGregor

After Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate, she's told to meet with Mrs. Petrowski, the school counselor, so she can make right her wrong and learn to be a better friend. Bothered at first, it doesn't take long before Katie realizes that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, too.

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Bully by Patricia Polacco

Review by Kim Higginson

Patricia Polacco has taken up the cause against bullies ever since Thank You, Mr. Falker, and her passion shines through in this powerful story of a girl who stands up for a friend.

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The Book of Knowing by Gwendoline Smith

Review by Gray Smith

The inspiration for "Knowing" came from Gwendoline Smith's very successful blog Dr Know. Answering requests from thousands of young people around the globe. Although the knowledge contained in these pages would enlighten people of all ages, it is primarily targeted to 14 - 25 year-olds. It is an accessible and informative read, based in science and logic. At the same time funny and educational, illustrated by two 18 year-old illustrators.

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Play Your Best Card

Review by Briar Matthews

Play Your Best Card is a team-based game that encourages teens to have conversations on a range of topics relevant to young people. It also encourages them to discuss challenges and what to do in a range of different situations. The discussions change every time the game is played, as young people are given the creative challenge of coming up with relatable stories based on the cards in the deck.

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Kick Depression by Jack Stack

Review by Meg Rogers

This free e-book contains a number of scientifically proven ways to help you to get through the hard times, with a sprinkling of ‘honest’ language, and a few pretty graphics to balance out the colourful words inside.

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Because Everything is Right but Everything is Wrong by Erin Donohue

Review by Nicola Corner

Can you be lost and not know it? Can other people stop you from being lost? Seventeen-year-old Caleb’s world is disintegrating, his walls are closing in, his sky is threatening to fall. He’s barely holding on. To deadlines. To friends. To family. To mum. To Pat. But he has Casey. Maybe she can save him.

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You, Me and Empathy by Jayneen Sanders

Review by Kim Higginson

This charming story uses verse, beautiful illustrations and a little person called Quinn to model the meaning of empathy.

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Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry

Review by Jo Quigg

Stick and Stone are on their own, until a chance encounter with a boorish bully (Pine Cone), inspires Stick to stick up for stone. The new pals head off on an adventure and discover that friendship really rocks.

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Odd Velvet by Mary E. Whitcomb

Review by Kim Higginson

Velvet is odd. Instead of dolls that talk and cry, Velvet brings a milkweed pod for show and tell. She wins the class art contest using only an eight-pack of crayons. She likes to collect rocks. Even her name is strange-Velvet! But as the school year unfolds, the things Velvet does and the things that Velvet says slowly begin to make sense. And, in the end, Velvet's classmates discover that being different is what makes Velvet so much fun.

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Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz

Review by Kim Higginson

Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz, and illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain, is a story that celebrates just how good it is to march to a different beat. It's a told story of a little boy who is different from his peers and who is bullied at school as a result.

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Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney

Review by Kim Higginson

Taking on a difficult but important part of children's lives, Anna Dewdney gives readers a way to experience and discuss bullying in a safe and comforting way.

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Invisible Jerry by Adam Wallace

Review by Kim Higginson

This is a picture book with humour and heart for everyone who has ever felt like they’re on the outside looking in.

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From Worrier to Warrior by Dan Peters

Review by Anna Mowat

From Worrier to Warrior, a companion book to Make Your Worrier a Warrior (for parents), is designed to teach you how to conquer the Worry Monster. This book shows you how to overcome worry and fear using several easy-to-follow strategies. Read the book and learn the strategies yourself, or read along with a parent or other adult. From Worrier to Warrior will teach you how to create your very own "toolbox" of ways to combat fear and anxiety to carry with you and conquer the Worry Monster at any time.

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Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Review by Jo Quigg

Chloe and her friends won't play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship.

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Big Red and the Little Bitty Wolf: A Story About Bullying by Jeanie Franz Ransom

Review by Charmaine Denney

This book is a modern twist on the classic tale, in which a little wolf's unexpected solution to the class bully is met with surprising success.

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The Chillout Chair series by Josephine Carson Barr

Review by Anna Mowat

The Chill Out Chair is the second book in the Nicholas story series. We learn how the Calm Down Chair got its new name, the Chill Out Chair. We join Nicholas and his friend the whale on an adventure saving the baby animals from the sea monster. This book also includes some Te Reo and New Zealand Sign Language.

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Release the Beast by Romy Sai Zunde

Review by Michelle Dendale

Release the Beast is a fun and quirky picture book which allows a child to respond to his frustrations by unleashing his imaginary beast. Examining the emotion of anger in a positive and humorous way that children will relate to, Release the Beast serves as an entry point to begin the discussion with children about dealing with the everyday frustrations of life.

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Promised Land by Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris

Review by Demi Cox

Promised land is an LGBTQIA+ themed children's book written by Adam Reynolds & Chaz Harris with illustrations by Christine Luiten.

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Maia and the Worry Bug by Julie Burgess-Manning

Review by Kate Cherven

'Maia and the worry bug' is a story and resource book to help families experiencing mild to moderate anxiety manage their worries and understand anxiety better.

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Kiwicorn by Kat Merewether

Review by Amanda Schulze

Kiwicorn is a cute and funny story about being unique. Gorgeous illustrations and writing, help children to understand their emotions and to open a light-hearted dialogue about diversity.

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Just Breathe: A Mindfulness Adventure by Jen Sievers

Reviewed by Charmaine Denney

Just Breathe is a picture book written for children aged around 3-8 years old. It tells a story that takes children (and parents) through a simple and engaging mindfulness exercise. This introduced a wonderful way of dealing with difficult emotions and preventing anxiety.

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Feel a Little: Little poems about big feelings by Jenny Palmer

Review by Amanda Schulze

"Feel a little" is a bright new book by Jenny Palmer and Evie Kemp encouraging a stronger understanding of emotions from an early age. It isn't just a super cute book, it's a whole toolbox for starting conversations about emotions from a young age.

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ACE: A Horsey Tail of Courage by Katy Clook and Kophie Hulsbosch

Review by Vivienne Martini

‘Ace, a horsey tail of courage’ is an anti bullying story book for children. The story follows the life of a horse who despite being bullied ends up achieving his long held dreams and goals. We love everything about this well illustrated, thought provoking book.

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Young Queen by Parris Goebel

Review by Jono Selu

Parris Goebel was destined to make her mark. Young Queen is the autobiography of a dancer with a dream ... a young Polynesian girl who grew up in New Zealand and went on to conquer the hip hop world.

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'Rising tide/He tai pari' by Julie Burgess-Manning and Jenny Cooper

Review by Anna Mowat

Rising Tide/He Tai Pari is an engaging junior fiction self-help text for ages 8-12 that follows Ari through a series of challenging events and resolution. The book includes peer reviewed therapeutic lesson plans and family exercises.

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When Life Gives You Lemons by Celia Painter and Abbie Krieble

Review by Kate Cherven

Written by young people who have been there, this book provides an understanding of what depression and anxiety is like, and helps make sense of it all. Practical advice is given on how to deal with depression and anxiety. This resource is an excellent for young people. It could also be used to give parents an idea of what their adolescent is going through.

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Stuff That Sucks by Ben Sedley

Review by Jono Selu

With a strong emphasis on validation and compassion, Stuff That Sucks encourages you to accept your emotions rather than struggling against them. It also shows how to reconnect with what is really important to you, giving you the tools to help clarify your personal values and take steps towards living a life where those values can guide you in your day-to-day behaviour.

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Bully on the Bus by Kathryn Apel

Review by Kim Higginson

The bully on the bus taunts Leroy, then silences him with threats of worse to come. To distract him, his teacher introduces him to the adventures in The Big Bad Book of Fairytales. Hidden throughout are the clues that Leroy needs to overcome the bullying taunts once and for all.

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Moth by Holly Dunn

Reviews by Kellie Christophersen and Anna Mowat

Moth is a picture book about friendship and belonging, and how it feels when you don't fit in. It aims to help children to better understand social anxiety and introversion in a safe and relatable way. Children and adults will enjoy spotting the different plants and animals endemic to New Zealand, including kowhai, weta and kiwi.

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Tabby

Stories

Twenty-two-year-old Tabby is no stranger to stigma, discrimination or mental distress. Since coming out as bisexual in her teens, the Wellingtonian has seen a lot of stereotyping and myths around bisexuality.

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Barry

Barry Hart’s son Josh was 8 years old when the texts started. “He would get text bombed at one am, four or five kids at a time sending him terrible messages, every night."

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Jesse

I am Jesse and I have a condition called neurofibromatosis. I would like to share with you my story, as someone who has experienced chronic bullying.

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Generation Queer

Young people who identify as queer, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, takataapui, fa’afafine, questioning or curious meet at Rainbow Youth HQ to support each other and have fun.

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Constable Adele White's advice on bullying

Adele White is the School Community Officer for Howick, Auckland, working to promote safety to schools in her area. She has lots of advice.

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InsideOUT

Bullying can take place when someone is targeted because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, or that of someone within their family or friend group.

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2015 Pink Shirt Day Heroes

For Pink Shirt Day 2015, we ran a competition in partnership with the Defence Force to find five Pink Shirt Day Heroes from around New Zealand. Here are the five winning entries.

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Speak up! It does make a difference

Mikayla Creswell, a student at Otago Polytechnic, knows all too well the effects bullying can have on young people. She’s taking part in Pink Shirt Day to show others that they’re not alone.

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It’s OK to be different

Arish Naresh believes standing up against bullying is a strong step towards elimination of wider discrimination in Aotearoa.

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Proud to be part of Pink Shirt Day

Ala Vaka, a year 13 student at James Cook High School, is proud to be part of a school which celebrates Pink Shirt Day

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Pink Shirt Day is an attitude

Constable Bryan, who is one half of the dynamic television duo known as Bryan and Bobby, has been a keen supporter of Pink Shirt Day even before it arrived in New Zealand.

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How a small act of kindness changed a life

For a long time, Lisa Maree Hall had no idea her small act of kindness had such a big impact on her former classmate’s life – that’s a big reason why she’ll be supporting Pink Shirt Day on Friday, 26 May.

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Junior rugby league team gets behind Pink Shirt Day

For Riccarton Junior Knights Rugby League Club, Pink Shirt Day is a chance to celebrate and promote the true meaning of team mates.

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Trade Me to hold biggest ever Pink Shirt Day

Trade Me’s iconic mascot Kevin the Kiwi is getting ready to dust off his tailored pink polo in preparation for this year’s Pink Shirt Day on 18 May.

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Waikato primary school student gets behind Pink Shirt Day

Six-year-old Tegan Way is one of many people in Waikato leading the charge to support Pink Shirt Day, and she’s challenging the rest of the region to join her.

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Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment dons the pink shirt

Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has made significant changes to its anti-bullying and wellbeing policies since joining the Pink Shirt Day campaign

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“Kōrero Mai, Kōrero Atu, Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora – Speak Up, Stand Together, Stop Bullying!”